BOSTON – Kyrie Irving scored 37 points and the Boston Celtics rallied late in the fourth quarter to beat the Indiana Pacers 99-91 last night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round NBA playoff series
Coming out of a timeout with a chance for Indiana to tie it, the Pacers’ Wesley Matthews threw an inbounds pass into the bench on the other side of the court with 12.1 seconds left. On the ensuing play, the Celtics’ Al Horford passed to Jayson Tatum, who was fouled on a two-handed dunk. He completed the three-point play to make it 97-91 with 8.8 seconds left.
The Pacers turned it over again and the Celtics were able to close out the game at the free throw line.
Tatum scored 26 points, including a thunderous dunk down the stretch to help punctuate a 10-0 run by Boston over the final five minutes. Bojan Bogdanovic led Indiana with 23 points, and Thaddeus Young had 15.
Game 3 is Friday night at Indiana.
In Houston, James Harden put on an MVP performance with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Houston Rockets to a second straight rout of Utah 118-98 for a 2-0 series lead.
Harden had his third career playoff triple-double. He had 25 points in the first half.
Harden controlled the game from the start as the Rockets raced to a 39-19 lead after a first quarter where he scored just two points fewer than the Jazz. Houston made 6 of 13 3-pointers in the first and Utah hit just one of their 14 tries. The Rockets didn’t let up in the second quarter and led 70-44 at halftime.
Ricky Rubio and Royce O’Neale each had 17 points for the Jazz.
Game 3 is Saturday night at Utah.
In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 13 of his 26 points in Milwaukee’s big third quarter and the Bucks beat Detroit Pistons 120-99 to take a 2-0 series lead.
Eric Bledsoe led the Bucks with 27 points, and Khris Middleton had 24. Milwaukee are trying to win a series for the first time since 2001. Luke Kennard had 19 points for Detroit. Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond each added 18, and Drummond had 16 rebounds.
Detroit star Blake Griffin sat out again with a left knee injury, but received a technical for the second straight game for arguing from the bench.
After scoring 10 points and playing only 14 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, Antetokounmpo scored Milwaukee’s first seven points in the third quarter. The Bucks outscored Detroit 35-17 in the period to take a 93-76 lead into the fourth.
Game 3 is Saturday night in Detroit.